The neighbors, again

February 26th, 2015, 6pm

A few days ago our upstairs neighbors began yelling at each other. It escalated quickly and in less than a minute my husband and I were reaching for our phones, determined to call the police. The only problem was that we realized that we weren’t sure what the number of the apartment above us was. I slipped out, in my socks, and tip toed up the stairs as stealthily as possible. I needn’t have been so careful: there was no way they ever would have heard me over the din they were making. There were shrieks, thuds and then the clear, crystal patter of glass shattering. I paused, my breath catching in the momentary silence that followed.

Then one of them screamed: “Don’t you come near me!” It was a horror movie scream, completely unhinged and wet with fear.

At the top of the stairs I found another neighbor standing, paralyzed, in her doorway, her cell phone loosely in hand. Our eyes met and almost without a word I slipped into her apartment. We discussed our ridiculous worry about seeming intrusive and our fear for our neighbors and then called the cops together.

When I left her apartment one of the neighbors was standing in the hall, tears beading in his dark eyes. He wiped at them, like a stage actor, with a flourish and sniffled, apologizing for the noise. “Are you okay?” I asked, tentatively. “We’re worried about you.”

“I don’t know,” He said meekly, tossing his head back, flicking his hair, “I’m just crazy.” He held my gaze for a second, then dropped it, hanging his head. I gave him a quick once over: no bruises, no visible signs of abuse. He was fully clothed though so what I was looking for might have been hiding under his t-shirt.

From inside his apartment I could hear his partner asking what was going on. His was the deep, gruff voice I was used to hearing in between thumps. The first neighbor replied in a thin, conciliatory tone that reminded me of how a stepford wife might attempt to deal with domestic abuse in front of company. He tried to smile and apologized again for the noise.

The cops came a few minutes later, four of them.

Later that night, at around 4 am the neighbors started fighting again. The only difference was that it sounded as though they were trying to keep it down. Shouting would drop very quickly to a whisper and even the sound of furniture moving seemed muffled. I reached for my phone but, abruptly, everything went quiet and I lay awake for a half hour afterward, unable to go back to sleep.

Craig, David Wade, Christine, Lester and 1 more said thanks.

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Dani Z

The hardest thing about getting older is realizing that I might, in fact, be a minor character in someone else's story. (I keep changing this bio. I'm not sure I'll ever nail it)

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